Versailles (Yvelines), château, Museum of Horse-Drawn Coaches

http://www.versaillesarras.com

The first and oldest museum of carriages in Europe is located in Versailles and was created by King Louis-Philippe in 1831. First located in the Small Stable [Petite Écurie], it was then transferred to a pavilion specially built by the architect Questel in 1851 between the two Trianons. It housed eight carriages and several sleighs displayed in the centre of a unique hall where harnesses garnished the large display cases resting along the walls.

In 1980, carriages and harnesses were installed in one of the galleries of the Main Stable. Except for the six sleighs and two small children's carriages, one town coach and one barouche which belonged to the son of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, it does not house any vehicles from France's pre-1789 royal court, since these all disappeared after the Revolution.

The collection includes a dozen carriages. Seven gala coaches from the First Napoleonic Empire constitute the oldest complete set remaining in France: same commissioner, Napoleon I, same builders, the Devaux and Getting & Prelot manufacturers, same type, same use, and same time period. The museum's masterpiece is the monumental State coach built for the coronation of Charles X in 1825 according to designs by the architect Percier, the builder Daldringen, the sculptor Roguier, the painter Delorme and the bronze-workers Denière & Matelin. It is the only State coach remaining in France.

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